Yellowstone NP: Natl Park Information

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Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park and thus an example of careful preservation of our unique resources, beautiful landscapes and historic sites in the United States.

Yellowstone NP was established in 1872 by an act of Congress. This unique area of geothermal wonders is a wilderness that is visited each year by millions. There are many sights to see, but before you come, it’s wise to explore all the information available. If your trip is better planned, it can be more fulfilling. Contact the park directly at 307-344-7381.

Seasons and Fees

  • Hours & Seasons
    Know what is open and the best time to stop at the visitor centers, campgrounds, stores and other facilities.
  • Park Fees
    Knowing what the entrance fees are for Yellowstone NP will help you plan effectively.

Things to Do and See

  • Park Highlights
    There is so much to see in the park. From geothermal features like Old Faithful to vast expanses like the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you can easily spend a week here without getting bored.
  • Camping
    Experience the park by sleeping under the stars at one of 12 campgrounds.
  • Lodging
    Lodges and hotels are available throughout the park. Make your reservations early.
  • Junior Ranger Program
    Get all the details on how your kids can become Junior Rangers.
  • Ranger Program
    Ranger led walks, talks, and evening programs are offered year-round.

Questions & Answers

No, but paid campsites will allow you to sleep in your car if you insist. Yellowstone does not allow overnight parking in attraction parking lots, trailheads, or on the roadside. Only visitors who have reserved rooms one of the many lodging options can park their cars overnight. Be sure to bring warm sleeping bags even in the summer because night-time temperatures can dip close to freezing.

Yes. You can easily enjoy a cold beer anywhere in Yellowstone National Park, so long as you’re not driving. The Park regulations reflect the loose public drinking laws in the three states--Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming--through which the park ranges. Because Montana and Wyoming are among the highest in the country for breweries-per-capita, picking what to drink may be harder than picking where to drink it.

The Old Faithful Geyser Loop trail is only 0.7 mile long. The trail traverses a raised boardwalk through scenic places and takes most strollers 15 to 20 minutes. Taking extra time to walk the entire geyser basin boardwalk (5 miles) is well worthwhile. If you have time, you can easily do this level stroll in a few hours. There are as many as 150 geothermal wonders packed into this area. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see geysers erupting that are more fantastic than Old Faithful.

With millions of visitors every summer, parking can be hard to find and roads can be congested, so be patient and flexible with your plans. Cell service and bandwidth are limited within the park so you might not be able to send and receive calls and text. Hot springs and geysers are dangerous, so please stay on the boardwalks to avoid being burned. The wild animals are dangerous too and will charge if provoked, even if they seem docile.

Wyoming contains most of Yellowstone’s area, but the 3,500 square mile park also sprawls into Idaho and Montana.

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